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Voluntary Sector (Regulation)

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

The Government are taking forward a range of measures to reduce regulatory burdens on the third sector, including through the Charities Bill, which has completed its Committee stage in this House, and the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, which is being considered in another place.

The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill offers an approach to the repeal of unnecessary regulation, but does my hon. Friend agree that it would be much better to go forward with an all-party consensus on the matter? If so, what is he doing to achieve that?

I agree very much that the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill is an extremely important measure. It introduces risk-based regulation, including for the Charity Commission, which has a lot of dealings with the voluntary sector, and it also allows us to repeal unnecessary regulations. The Opposition talk a lot about the need for reform and getting rid of unnecessary regulation. It is time for them to vote accordingly and support the Bill when it comes back to this House.

The citizens advice bureau in Rushden, the second town in the Wellingborough constituency, was forced to close recently, which meant that people in desperate need of advice were left without an advice centre. It appears that the Government make no contribution to local citizens advice bureaux, but will they look at that again?

I understand the hon. Gentleman’s concern, and I am happy to look into that specific case. On the basis of my local experience, I think that I am right in saying that citizens advice bureaux are generally funded by local authorities. However, I shall be happy to look into the matter that he raises.